Proverbs 10:2

Treasures gained by wickedness do not profit,

    but righteousness delivers from death.

Proverbs 10:2 ESV

This verse goes against much of our culture. When treasure is the goal, the means is often disregarded. Here, though, the writer is focused on the heart. Thus he can say, “succeeding in the wrong way is not succeeding.” Those who gain by wickedness kill their souls. Alternatively, those who are righteous find life. Because life is the goal, success is redefined in this verse.

How do you define success? What are you striving for today?

Proverbs 10:5

“He who gathers in summer is a prudent son,

    but he who sleeps in harvest is a son who brings shame.”

Proverbs 10:5 ESV

Here, Solomon uses an agricultural setting to make a universal point. If you are not connected to a farm in any way, you can still get the point Solomon is making. To whit, the one who takes care of his business at the proper time is wise; the one who doesn’t is a fool.

So, whether you are a programmer, a student, a mechanic, a homemaker, get your stuff done at the right time.

Proverbs 10:1

“A wise son makes a glad father,

    but a foolish son is a sorrow to his mother.”

Proverbs 10:1 ESV

So often we dismiss or are unaware of the way we affect others, particularly our parents. This verse may feel strange because we more naturally consider the parents’ influence on the children? Was he an abusive dad? Was she a nurturing mother?

Here, the writer flips that and reveals the influence that children can have on their parents. This is an important word for children because children typically think only about the parents’ responsibility to protect and provide for them.

So, here’s the message to children: Wisdom brings joy to your parents and folly brings sorrow to them.

Proverbs 10:23

“Doing wrong is like a joke to a fool,

  but wisdom is pleasure to a man of understanding.”

Proverbs 10:23 ESV

The writer gives us another diagnostic tool, in case we had any doubts. Are you a fool or man of understanding?

Before answering, it is important to remember that biblical wisdom isn’t the ability to do well on a trivia quiz. In other words, wisdom isn’t the accumulation of a wealth of knowledge. Wisdom is related to a fear and knowledge of the Lord, and living in godliness.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,

  and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.”

Proverbs 9:10 ESV

Proverbs 10:7

“The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.”

Proverbs 10:7 ESV

One of the lasting effects of righteousness is the blessing that your memory is to those you leave behind. Conversely, one of the lasting effects of wickedness is the curse that your memory is to those you leave behind.

In the case of the righteous, conversations and memories are often filled with smiles and laughter as people say things like “Do you remember when he/she ….?” Or the memories offer encouragement because of how gentle or thoughtful or selfless or kind was the person of righteousness.

In the case of the wicked, people often are left cursing the wicked because of the destruction that he/she caused. Or they are left wondering how things could have been different. “What if I had done [this or that] differently, would it have encouraged him to change his ways?” “If he could only have stopped [this or that], things would have been so different.”

Notice in the case of the wicked, the path of destruction can be very obvious, but it can also be very subtle. The “what if” questions, for example, often bring doubt or guilt or shame upon those who are left behind, even though they are not guilty of another person’s wickedness. In other words, the wickedness continues to affect others. This is rot.

Jehoram, King of Judah, is an example of the wicked person. He came to the throne at the age of 32 and reigned for 8 years. “And he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, as the house of Ahab had done, for the daughter of Ahab was his wife. And he did what was evil in the sight of the Lord” (2 Kings 8:18 ESV). Second Chronicles gives more details: “… His people made no fire in his honor, like the fires made for his fathers. 20 He was thirty-two years old when he began to reign, and he reigned eight years in Jerusalem. And he departed with no one’s regret. They buried him in the city of David, but not in the tombs of the kings” (21:19-20 ESV).

The words that struck me were, “And he departed with no one’s regret.” What is the memory you want to leave for others? Blessing or rot?

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